Solitude and Leadership, West Point lecture by William Deresiewicz

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.

Discovered thanks to @harjeet.

Why is "WBF" the German name for "SCV"?

German is the funniest language I have ever learned. (Disclaimer: It is the only language other than english I have ever learned.) Further disclaimer, I don't even speak german very well, no doubt I'll make plenty of mistakes in this post.

Imagine a party game where you draw simple words out of a hat, and have to use only those words to communicate some complex idea to your teammates. Now you know how german works.

In this case, Space Construction Vehicle apparently translates to "Weltraumbaufahrzeug". Ok. But let's break that down, literally. (Nota Bene: I am not literally breaking it down, I am breaking it down literally.). Welt means "world", raum means "room" or "space". So space is "world-room". Well, duh. It's the room where the world is. I'm surprised you didn't just assume that. "Bau" is building or structure. Fahr is "conveyance" or "transport" or "moving thing" or something; it often appears to me to stand in for the abstract concept of movement through space. I've never been totally clear on what a "zeug" is, literally. My german dictionary says it means "stuff" or "gear".

So, let's put that together. In german, an SCV is, literally, a "world-room-building-go-thing".

Well put, emTel. It's funny because it's true. Oh, German...

The World Changing Power of the Reasonable - my talk from CVE 2.0

This one time, I was asked to speak at a conference about Countering Violent Extremism. Wild, right?

Well, @harper and I were invited to talk about how the Internet can be a tool for good in this cause. Here's my talk. As for all the badges I'm wearing, let's just say they had a few too many made for me and I didn't want them to go to waste.

#CVE20: The World Changing Power of the Reasonable from Navanti Group on Vimeo.

Slides below.

How Valuable is a College Education? (Remember: Student loan debt is inescapable!) Here's what I had to say on @BloombergTV

Click here to watch (sorry, embeds aren't working).

This jacket and tie weren't just proof that I could tie a tie, but also because my grandfather warned that no one would ever tak eme seriously wearing a hoodie and t-shirt. I disagree with his thesis, but thought I'd indulge him on my next Bloomberg appearance (he's a huge fan).